Skills development is the process of identifying your skill gaps, and developing and honing these skills. It is important because your skills determine your ability to execute your plans with success. Imagine a carpenter trying to build a house. He has the raw materials but lacks good wood working tools. He has, however, a flimsy hammer and a small screwdriver. Without the right tools like a hand saw, he can’t turn these raw materials into house building pieces.
There are essentially two types of skills, hard skills and soft skills:
Hard skills: Skills relating to any specific task, they are usually easily quantifiable. They tend to be knowledge-based, such as proficiency in a subject, certification, and technical skills. Carpentry, welding, skills in XYZ software, graphic design, and programming are all hard skills.
Soft skills: Skills relating to personality and tend to be transferable, such as communication, leadership, time management, decision making, adaptability, ability to deal with adversity, and networking.
It’s obvious why hard skills are important. You need domain-level knowledge to thrive in a goal. To be a decent mechanic, you need have a good amount of skills and knowledge about automobiles. To be a good blogger, you should have good writing skills and a good command of the language. To be a good software engineer, you need to know programming.
The Northeastern region of India is home to more than 45 million people, 3.76 per cent of India’s population, with high literacy level (most North Eastern states being above the national average of 74.04 per cent). The region has recorded an annual economic growth rate in excess of 8 per cent during the last decade. But the big question still looms – Where does NER stand in the youth employment landscape? The harsh reality is that not only does the region lack the presence of any major business corporation setting up industrial units and plants but also retains a weak start-up ecosystem for small businesses to flourish. Lack of the resources and poor infrastructure led to a high rate of the unemployment. Youth is educated and have the skill but fail to make a living due to lack of the resources. It is the need of the hour to present north east with equal set of opportunities.
Inspite of the immense potential of North East, the region has largely remained underdeveloped. A key constraint to the growth has been poor infrastructure and limited connectivity (roads, telecommunications and power supply), both within the region as well as with the rest of the country. The region, connected to the rest of India by a narrow stretch of land called the ‘chicken’s neck’, needs infrastructure to support and ensure significant investments and developmental aids.
“Technical and vocational skills development for socio-economic growth and lifelong learning”.
- Experiences with integrated solutions that combine skills development measures with other types of assistance, e.g. access to micro loans and business development services, value chain approaches and functional adult literacy, among others
- The integration of and the permeability between formal and non-formal training systems
- Good practices in fostering and broadening skills development in both urban and rural areas, e.g. methods of program planning and curriculum development, stakeholder cooperation and coordination, governance, PPP, among others
- Successful and sustainable income/employment-oriented education and training measures that support and take into consideration de-escalation, prevention of conflicts and postconflict situations
- Effective mechanisms for management, organization, coordination and control of quality assurance of (non-formal) skills development measures for marginalized target groups
- Good practices to increase social equity, particularly regarding gender and people with disabilities
- Good practices in supporting traditional apprenticeship; e.g. structure, type and level of skills provision, didactic principles, among others
- Determinants of cost-effectiveness of skills development measures.
Efforts being made
The north-eastern states of India have their unique requirements in skill based training depending on the natural resources, industry and native trades. The governments of these states have embarked on skill development missions to meet the aspirations of youth through training, enhance employability and employment. Several training partners, academic institutions and vocational training centers are actively involved in a range of programs that enable livelihoods, increase productivity and income levels of people in the states. Most initiatives are a part of national schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) apart from regional schemes from the states. We invite the readers from north-eastern states to share more details about the impact of their skill development projects, and the challenges faced in achieving the outcomes.
Under the 12th Plan, there’s a proposal for State Skill Development Mission under the chairmanship of the chief minister, along with a steering committee representing the industry.
The nodal department has set a target to train 50000 people by 2022. The project implementation unit will work with government ITI s as vocational training providers along with private agencies in training for different sectors.
In Assam, Employment Generation Mission (EGM), an autonomous body under the government spearheads the skill development initiatives. Their major objective is to stimulate the economy of Assam through skill development through Project Implementation Agencies (PIAs).
EGM has registered in its account several success stories enumerating the various workshops and seminars held in training the youth in diverse skill sectors like bell metal unit, printing press, horticulture and many other skills.
The employment generation mission started with 7 lakhs and proliferated from I unit to 18 units in just one and a half years. Skill based training is also carried out through Assam State Livelihood Mission and NULM scheme.
The state of Manipur has created various committees and sectors to create a stimulus in enabling youth undergo skill education and training. The main agenda of these committees are identified to suggest ways and means of skill up gradation identify why the youth are not very much enthusiastic about enrolling in these programs. Also another important agenda that they have is to review the existing approach, strategies, priorities and ongoing policies and the loopholes in their implementation.
The government of Manipur has also been striving to create an effective linkage between different organizations connected to skill development.
With the constitution of Meghalaya State Skill Development Society, the government has taken skill development in their state to another level by training 7700 youth in the State.
Under the DDU-GKY and state level skill development plans, the government aims to train rural youth and provide them with jobs with decent wages. Their primary agenda is to fill in the gaps in the skill sectors which were once the pride of Meghalaya, and the main source of employment generation in the State.
The process of skill development can be greatly accelerated by training the employees to adequately equip them for enhanced efficiency and responsible behavior. The endeavor of the Government is to impart need-based training to employees so as to develop the right attitude, necessary skills, duty consciousness, competence and self-motivation to take on the challenges in their work.
The government of Nagaland has started preparation to put in action the schemes under the NSDC, which is helping them conduct skills and have better ideas about the capabilities and the aspirations of the youth in the state. Most of the initiatives are also guided by PMKVY to the trainees to get jobs for themselves or be able to set up some enterprises thereby not only employing themselves but also providing others with opportunities to prosper.
Sikkim has inaugurated livelihood schools, which train the youth in various livelihood options and sectors of employment like hospitality and tourism, driver and tour guide, computer software, medical transcription, organic farming, veterinary training, electrical trade, horticulture and teacher training.
So far, Sikkim has been quite successful in initiating and running these livelihood schools. Crafts are essentially an important sector and skill for the people of Sikkim. The major goals and objectives of the Directorate of Handicrafts in Sikkim are to preserve and revive the languishing ethnic cultures of the State.
The Tripura government has decided to set up State Skill Development Mission to enable youth to experience employment.
A separate directorate committee is to be formed to run various programs of skill development in various sectors. Under these sectors, the youth of the state of Tripura will be trained based on skill, capabilities, merit and interests. However, the government is keen on enhancing employability and making the youth skill enabled.
There is considerable unemployment in the Northeast that lacks proper government support and skill-based training. As far as the land rates are concerned, boom in real estate and prices in bigger towns and cities are almost comparable to any other metro city of India. Unfortunately, this factor also becomes a challenge for small businesses in terms of affordability. However these potential industrial units face hindrance in the form of land acquisition, availability of power, transport, logistics, credit disbursal, skilled labour, adequate marketing initiatives and issues in taxation. While dealing with setbacks, lack of power continues to be a major bottleneck. Subsidies and incentives alone cannot drive the growth. Unless these structural issues are addressed by the government, Northeast may not be able to sustain the robust growth in the coming years.